A critical part of helping your body do what it already knows how to do to stay healthy is by supplying it with plenty of whole food nutrition. Whole food nutrition refers to all of the nutrients that are present in the foods that we get from plants – fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, berries, beans, etc. We are all told as children that fruits and vegetables are good for us – the problem is that there aren’t very many people who realize just how very dangerous it is NOT to eat these foods.
We all probably think, “Yes, I need to eat more fruits and vegetables and I might be a little better off if I eat some, but I’m ok right now” – that probably isn’t true if you’re not eating these foods. It really is dangerous to not eat these. Why? It is now understood that there is a process in the human body that determines rate of aging and disease risk.
Oxidative stress occurs when that process is allowed to go along at a faster rate. You then age more rapidly and your risk of developing disease is a lot higher because your body has much more trouble healing problems that occur.
When your body burns oxygen to produce energy, by-products called free-radicals remain. Free radicals damage cells. That damage is what determines your rate of aging and risk of disease and how much trouble your body is having staying healthy.
People do things or experience things on a daily basis that increases their risk – things such as smoking, stress, even physical stress such as exercising. These things can produces more free radicals. Without the proper protective nutrition the damaging process can be sped up.
Whole food nutrition is essential because these foods contain thousands of phytonutrients, also called micronutrients because they are in such tiny amounts.
The key is that there is an interdependence among these nutrients and the body knows how how to use them. There’s a synergistic effect to having them all together, so it’s really important to take them into your body in that way; with it being literally tens of thousands of substances, there really is no other way to get it other than as it occurs in the food.
Now a major part of whole foods is that they contain antioxidants. Antioxidants work to neutralize the harmful free radicals before they can cause the damage that increases your rate of aging and risk of disease. Therefore, it is vital to have these nutrients and antioxidants all together.
The symptoms of a degenerate or chronic disease, like cancer, heart disease, arthritis and kidney disease come about after several years of the damaging process of free radicals going on at a higher rate. All of our degenerative diseases are at least worsened by, if not caused by, the process of oxidative stress, so including enough whole food nutrition in the diet is an imperative aspect of staying well or preventing disease.